When IS the best time for a military family to have a baby?
I think this is something that a lot of military wives struggle with. With all these deployments and not much time at home, how do you plan the perfect time to have a baby? Is it better they miss the pregnancy but are there for the birth? What if you plan it perfectly but then deployment orders change? What if it takes longer than you think to get pregnant?
Deciding to have AJ seemed easy. We had been apart for 4.5 months while DW and I were waiting on Command Sponsorship. When we got to Germany we just decided to see what would happen. When Ben left for Iraq we thought that he would be home when the baby was about 3 months old. At the end of the deployment, he was 11 months old. I have several friends that got pregnant on R&R that deployment. They were due about 2 months after the guys were supposed to be home. It was ideal! They would not miss the birth and should be home for most of that first year. But then we got extended and a lot of the dads missed the whole pregnancy and didn’t meet the child until they were a few months old.
You can plan what you can but things always seem to change. When my husband got home in Nov 2007 I knew that I wanted another baby but I knew I did not want one in Germany. I also knew I did not want to go through another deployment in Germany with 3 kids. I know a lot of people do it and I know I could have done it if it was what happened, but I didn’t want to plan for it.
I have talked with a lot of my military wife friends about what would be easier. They miss the birth but then get to enjoy an older baby? They miss the pregnancy but can be there for the birth? They are there through it all but miss the 2nd year? I don’t think there is one right answer.
My husband was with me during the first part of pregnancy. I was sick and tired all the time. I would not look forward to going through that without him. He missed the birth even though they tried to send him home in time. I could do another birth without him but I do not want to. He was there when DW was born and I hate that he missed out on that with AJ. He was gone during the early months of his life which in a way made things easier at night. I didn’t have to worry about waking him up when I had to nurse. But then the extra help is missing too. I also felt like it was harder for him to bond with AJ. He got to see him on R&R; when he was a few weeks old but then didn’t get to see him again until he was almost a toddler. This made bonding with him a lot harder. Not that it hasn’t happened because it has; just it took a lot longer than it would have.
Both deployments left me with a new 2-year-old. Hopefully, that won’t happen again. He hasn’t ever missed the first steps but has missed first words. I think as military wives we know they will miss something. We know other wives have been through it. We know we will get through it. We know it is all a part of the lifestyle. But it still doesn’t make it very easy.
I take a ton of pictures which I know helps but I need to be better about taking videos of the kids. Hopefully the Flip will help with that 🙂